on October 18, 2013
Once you understand the Couchsurfing network and want to join the first step is making a profile. You’ve got to create a cross-section of yourself so people on the network can get to know you. I really can't instruct on how to express yourself in this way because everyone does it a bit differently. It might feel a bit silly trying to describe yourself in the CS profile framework, but just the fact that you try tells others something about you. It is important to have some girth to your profile when your potential hosts are reading it.
Honesty is key. What are you into? What aren't you into? Why or why not? It's not as important to have the same interests as those you'll meet on the network as it is just to have something interesting to bring to the table. What topics would you be interested in talking or hearing about? List them. Don’t try to please the group of hosts you’re hoping to surf with- just be honest. Regardless of your differences, there will always be things you can connect on. If nothing else, you will both at least be interested in the CS network, traveling, and meeting people from foreign countries. Start there.
Empathy is key. Put yourself in the shoes of the entire rest of the Couchsurfing network. What would you want to know about someone coming to you, looking for friendship and a place to crash? Imagine they have no references and no other friends on the network. What would make you excited to open your mind, heart, and possibly your home to them? For me, beyond seeing that someone is able to represent thoughtfulness in their profile, I want to know that a person is passionate about something. Even if it’s not something I’m interested in, I can look forward to hearing them talking about it. I can learn about something new and learn to relate to a new friend in the process.
From a safety and security perspective, use common sense when filling out your profile. If there are things you aren't comfortable talking about, it might seem like leaving it out of your profile is best. However, depending on the topic, it might be smart to explicitly say that you'd rather not talk about it. There is no shame in stating that you would rather not talk about politics or religion, for example. The same goes for actions and beliefs. If certain activities or beliefs make you uncomfortable, make it known. That way you won't find yourself with a host or surfer with whom your attempts to connect may result in conflict.
Next you need to make some connections!